Updated: Jun 26, 2021
“A heady concoction of deep balearic, classic west coast, disco, beard rock and blissed-out funk.” -hyponik website, 2008
Perhaps this Hyponik Magazine description of WOOLFY’s music best captures he and his production partner’s unique sound. No doubt, countless euphoric moments have been soundtracked to the melodies of Woolfy vs. Projections since the release of their first album The Astral Projections of Starlight in 2008.
The solo artist, Simon James, aka Woolfy, hails from Surrey, England, but made his way to California in the early 90’s. Projections was his first project with Dan Hastie, an LA native and fellow avid raver, who would become Woolfy’s lifetime pal and musical ally.
The duo would create extended live recorded music in these early years as Projections; by the 2000’s the project morphed into Woolfy vs. the Projections and with the change in moniker came an ushering in of a new balearic era that blended live instrumentation with the rave music the duo grew up on.
Since the change of name, the duo have become important names in the industry with countless releases, mainly on Permanent Vacation, but also on DFA, Rong Music, Mindless Boogie, Phantom Island and many others. Through the years Woolfy has also made his share of solo productions and has stormed dancefloors around the world as a DJ.
Woolfy’s music is built for the most tasteful beach parties, for multicolored balearic sunsets, and discerning nighttime dancefloors that aren’t simply about driving house. Guitars meld with dreamy synthesizers, house drums and deep basslines to form a truly hypnotic concoction- the influence of space disco, dub music and progressive rock is apparent in all of Woolfy’s work.
Woolfy and Dan’s productions have long been a favorite of many dj’s and dancers around the globe, including me, for their ability to tap into the euphoric, psychedelic and trandscent. Isn’t this what dance music is about after all? Given their balearic tilt, it makes perfect sense that Woolfy keeps his creative homebase in the Los Angeles area, a part of California for its singular dreamy environment and expansive dance music scene.
Woolfy’s had quite a few years as a producer and DJ; even with the pandemic slowdown, he’s maintained a productive studio presence. His productions are now seeing the light of day as the anticipation mounts for the next phase of life in disco land and we’re all very excited to hear what he’ll bring.
Today he’s dropping an EXCLUSIVE hour + mix (bottom of this post) of Pride month favorites for us which we know will get you moving. Dive into the world of Woolfy as you wade into the weekend and be sure to keep an ear out for the next steps of this balearic magician.
Woolfy! We have been fans of your music for quite some time so we’re stoked to have you contribute to our series. It’s always a real thrill to have an artist we respect and admire do a mix just for us, it feels like a real gift. So first and foremost thank you.
How are you doing? How have you managed this insane year and a half +? Have these past few weeks given you hope that we can get back to the night/daylife we all miss?
Been good mate, definitely an odd year, thankfully didn’t lose anyone close to the Covid. Lockdown definitely paved the way for a prolific dive into creativity with lot’s of new friends from afar. Played a couple gigs last week and it was certainly a welcome change.
I will ask you about how you’ve stayed active producing over the COVID period, so hang on for that. Before we dive into your current work, can you take us back? How did this music and dance life begin for you? What is your genesis story?
Dance was always the most consistent thing in my early childhood. My dad who was in the music business would bring home incredible promos like Depeche Modes debut Speak and Spell and my afterschool hobby would be to make up extravagant dance routines in front of our wall size living room mirror. I would of loved to of followed the path of choreography. Went through all the styles of fashion and music, goth, hip-hop, grunge until I dropped a hit of acid at a Primal Scream concert. It was over after that. Started going to house clubs in 91 and got my first turntables in 92.
You can easily pick productions from you or Woolfy vs. Projections out of a lineup very easily. Do you set out to create a consistent sound in each of your productions? Or is it a function of your hardware, productions methods and overall vibe/style?
When we started Projections, the idea was to record live players into the dance world. We were signed to Guidance Recordings out of Chicago. Our first LP Between Here & Now was a meeting of Dan’s inspirations from the funk and soul with mine from the house and songwriting world. We’re fanatics for anything analog and that ends up being a signature part of our sound. Living the Cali life has also influenced us greatly, whether it be from the sunset beaches to west coast boogie.
How has California been for you as a musical home and home in general? Is there something you appreciate most about being there?
It’s a special place, your summer’s basically endless. I live in a small town in the mountains just north of Los Angeles called Ojai, however spent most of my life growing up in LA. I would say I’m most appreciative of the incredible cultures and diversity of the city, it’s most certainly shaped who I am today.
Do you see yourself more as a producer or DJ or do these mediums work together?
Definitely both, however I generally don’t make music that I intend on playing out. When dj’ing,, I have one thing on my mind, and that’s rockin a party for the people that are there to dance. With producing and songwriting, there’s these big ol’ things called emotions that want to get themselves all involved in everything.
Have you appreciated this COVID period as a time for you to dive deeply into your production work? What have you been working on and what should we be looking out for?
Certainly appreciated the lockdown as a creative window. Reached out to colleagues who I have mad respect for such as Ilya Santana, Coyote , Stevie Kotey and Lexx , and had some great collaborations. We also have a new label on the horizon called Ritual Release which will be launching at the end of summer.
What has been inspiring you these days (music, art, film, etc)? How do these inspirations affect your work?
I’m always drawn to strange creatures, my latest musical swoon is Sean Nicholas Savage, he just unapologetically different. The boogie label Star Creature out of Chicago is definitely putting some dents in the savings account ,. Recently I’m finding a lot of inspiration from listening to other peoples’ dj mixes. For years I would only listen to our own material as they were always works in progress, but recently opened up the flood gates to spend lots of time listening to other peoples visions. Since the record shops have been closed, it’s the only way to dig.
Are you optimistic about what the future holds for dance music in the coming months and years? What is next for you as a DJ and Producer as we (hopefully) move out of this COVID freeze?
Definitely optimistic. I’m chomping at the bit to get out on tour and find some vinyl only parties to play. Our new label Ritual Release has Dan and I going back to our original moniker Projections where we’ll keep the Woolfy Vs Projections sound going, our first release Original Cell is backed by great remixes from Khidja and Coyote. As Woolfy, I’m diving into the vulnerable singing/songwriting with much more of the music based in the folk, alternative world. We also have a new boogie/disco outfit on the horizon called Guruku with incredible remixes by Sir Ray Mang. Really excited to see how the musics received.
Finally, tell us about this mix. Is there a theme/ idea/ story? Any standout records you’re feeling from the mix? What should we expect and what is the best environment to play it in?
Hmmm , anywhere , anytime, your car, getting dressed, cocktails on a Friday night before heading out.. “What A Drag !!” in support of Pride.. .
Woolfy - we’re excited to share your mix with the O&O community and appreciate your time and dedication to your craft. Your music is bomb - keep up the excellent work and we’ll keep it locked!